Balancing Dangers: GLBT Experience in a Time of Anti-GLBT Legislation


In the past few years, 26 states have changed their constitutions to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. There has been little research on the psychological effects of this political process on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people. In this qualitative project, 13 GLBT people were interviewed about their experience during the process of a constitutional amendment. A grounded theory analysis of these semistructured interviews was conducted. The core category, or central finding, was "GLBT people need to balance the dual dangers of engagement with GLBT advocacy and self-protection through withdrawal." Other findings focused on the experience of living in a context of painful reminders that one is seen as less than human by the government and public, and in which one's life is frequently and publicly misrepresented to advance hostile political campaigns. Social support and a process of self-acceptance helped participants to face their fears of isolation, discrimination, and aggression and to fight for social justice. © 2009 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Journal of Counseling Psychology